A Mae Hong Son Blast during odd times..

ianyonok

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The weather forecast indicated a couple of days break in the rain.

The main entrances to the Pa Tueng Hot Spring rooms, west of Mae Chan on 1089 are closed. But I figured there was a way in to the area.
Actually there are two ways in. Just west of the east gate there is a small area with some local food shops, then from there is a short steep dirt track leads down onto the main east entrance road. Or take the south turn at the red sign, 800m east of the east main entrance. You ride over the bridge and through Pa Tueng village and this small road leads into the Hot Spring area.
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The footbaths are a series of baths with varying temperatures and deep enough for a soak. At 07:00 there were quite a few locals there; footbathing, boiling eggs and bamboo shoots.
Suitably refreshed, I rode on to Fang, to a fave Jok shop by the bus station, for breakfast.
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This young lady convinced me I needed to buy some of her anti-covid tonic. Grachai (wild ginger), honey and lemon, it tasted pleasant enough, with jok soup and chrysanthemum tea...
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I rode on down 107 past Chai Prakarn to the junction with 1150 to Phrao. But turned northwest on the shortcut 3022.
However, I got halfway along this road, before Huai Sai Khao, when I came to a guy blocking the road off, with "road closed" signs and a barrier. I naively asked him if a bridge had washed out in the rains. His reply was a grunted "covid"......
Ahh........ as I rode around the detour back to 107, I wondered if they were trying to keep it in.. or out...... maybe it's a hilltribe village.
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The 1322 Wiang Haeng forest road was as wonderful as ever. Just about zero traffic.
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At the Lisu coffee shop at the Gates to Wiang Haeng, there is now a large health checkpoint and the coffee shop is closed. While giving the usual i.d. details, I chatted with the young lady who said it was not a good time to Py Tiaow.... I asked if perhaps she thought I should stay hiding at home with a mask on...... fretting....
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Actually, I was having a great time, cool weather, swoopy roads, beautiful scenery, no traffic...life is good.... live it.
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At Wiang Haeng I took the dirt road across to Pai. As it hadn't rained for a day or so, it was easy. There are plenty of small rocks on the surface, so not slippery at all.
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Wonderful through here.
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This was about the muddiest section, but easy enough, not deep.
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There guys were as happy as... well.. buffaloes in mud..!
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Dropping down in the hamlet of Muang Noi.
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This is a delightful picturesque little valley.
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The bridge across to the ancient temple
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The main spans of the bridge are two trees. I wonder how much longer they will last...
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You can't ride through here without visiting the temple.
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Down into the Pai valley.
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I stayed at the hotel I have used before on the main road through town.
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I was the only guest on a Friday night.
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Great spot right on the river, 700 Baht room.
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Next morning, on to Mae Hong Son and the little WR155 is a super enjoyable, flickable bike through the twistys.
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Mist at the PangMaPha viewpoint
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In Mae Hong Son, it was straight to Herbert's restaurant, the Pizza Primavera, for lunch. By far the best place around to eat.
This was a prosciutto and imported Italian buffalo cheese, absolutely delicious. I'll have to ride over again soon, for another one of those......
Next course was a spinach lasagne, also super.

Pizza Primavera Italian Restaurant

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After lunch and a good chat with Herbert, I headed up to the GTR chedi at the hilltop temple, Wat Prathat Doi Kongmu, to pay my respects.
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I dropped into the mud spa resort, which was mostly closed but a hot spring bath room was available.
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One for hot, which it was.. very... and one for cold. Nice.
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Then it was back on the 1095, heading east. The economic devastation is clear to see. This is Saturday afternoon. Only one stall was open.
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Ah, the wonders of modern technology. There was a good breeze blowing at the Kiew Lom Viewpoint.
Out of five windmills, two had their top mast and generators missing, two more were swinging around but not turning. One out of five was swinging and actually turning. However, it's post was also swing back and forth alarmingly in the breeze.
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I was back in Pai for the night, same hotel and was again the only guest on a Saturday night.
A drive around Pai showed that about 90% of the out-lying resorts and restaurants were closed up. I saw only 4 reasonable looking dine-in restaurants open, in the centre of town.

Next morning I headed to Watchan.
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I took the small 4006.
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Out to the Mueang Paeng Hot Springs.
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A super warm soak in the cool morning air.
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Then on to Watchan on the superb windy 1265, zero traffic along here...
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Watchan was even deader than it normally is..... the Royal Project was closed and the coffee shop was closed.
It is important these days to carry some food and drink, in the more remote areas, as so many places are not open.
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From Watchan, I took the 1349 mountain road to Samoeng.
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Through the strawberry plantations.
Thought I would have a swig of anti-covid juice. Blimey, due to the altitude, the bottle top nearly took my head off, as it exploded off the bottle.
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This road, 1349, must be one of the longest stretches of road at high altitude, in the north. It was cold all the way. I was wearing t shirt, jumper, bike jacket & rain coat and it was still cold, even without the mist. It seemed to be around 50klms above 1,000m.
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Great ride, great road, great scenery.
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Like most of Mae Rim, the X Centre has been closed for months, but Ian happened to be there..... Ian & Ian..
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While heading home back up the 107, I stopped in a sala to put the rainsuit on, as a shower came over. Some young people were on bikes and sheltering there. A girl aged about 20 years old asked me if I was scared of covid? I said No, of course not, I'm enjoying riding my bike. She seemed genuinely quite stressed and said how scared she was and that if she catches covid she will die... Dear oh Dear.... I tried to explain to her that it was far more likely she would die from riding on the back of her boyfriend's Benelli.... but she wouldn't have it....

Odd times indeed....
 
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canthai

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We should have met up !
I rode CNX Pai MHS Wat Chan Samoeng CNX last week.
B2 hotel in Pai - pool open - 470 THB all inclusive
Had a room where you could walk out the door and jump in !
 

ianyonok

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We should have met up !
I rode CNX Pai MHS Wat Chan Samoeng CNX last week.
B2 hotel in Pai - pool open - 470 THB all inclusive
Had a room where you could walk out the door and jump in !
OK, Canthai, well, thanks for the tip, maybe I'll check the B2 in Pai next time. I assume they will get the beers in for you....?
 

canthai

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No bar or restaurant there. But only couple years old, nice pool, nice big rooms.
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Dodraugen

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Seems like a nice trip!

How do you find the WR155 in general?
And compared to other bikes, lets say KLX150, Crf250 or others?
 

ianyonok

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Hi Dodraugen,
Must say, I do like the WR155.
I rode a KLX250 for ten years, did 70k klms on it.
But I started to think it was very tall and heavy, when attempting more technical sections offroad.
When the local Waves go blasting past you up dirt slopes, it gets irritating...
I initially wanted to replace it with a KLX150BF.
But turns out that the WR155 is a much better choice.
It has 21" front wheel, 6 gears & liquid cooling. It has a larger petrol tank than the KLX250 and the standard seat is more comfortable.
It is shorter, lower and lighter than the KLX250.
It is not as heavy duty as the KLX250, like the wheel spokes are a smaller size. The wiring also looks a bit untidy by comparison.
The Variable Valve Actuation gives it more power than you would expect, I think about halfway between a KLX250 and a KLX150. It will get up to a similar top speed as the KLX250, just takes a little longer.
I have long legs but the sitting position is fine with my thighs slightly down.
I do notice a bit of a lack of power when accelerating out of corners or blasting up paved road hills, in comparison to the KLX250.
But it feels just as good on the twisties, like on the MHS loop. It is easier to flick around on the tight parts.
Being more comfortable than the KLX250 plus having a bigger fuel tank, it is better for long distance on and off road touring.
I guess you could say... I really like it...
 

DavidFL

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Great report & loadsa fun out there on the deserted roads.
You certainly cover some ground & a variety of roads on the mighty WR155.

"You can't ride through here without visiting the temple."
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It is probably a decade plus since I rode through there & never stopped at that temple. 55
Maybe it is time to go back & take a look.
 

ianyonok

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Meuang Noi is a really idyllic little valley. Well away from the city crowds. The old temple is in a great location too, just over the river.
 

Fritzltouw

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Looks great! and interesting thoughts on the bike. And I always thought none of Thailand's roads could be conquered by anything less than a R1250GS ;)

Can't wait to go up north again.
 

Steve Merchant

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Karen villages on that Chai Prakarn -Phrao road and like many hilltribes they are scared shitless of Covid. I approached a Lahu village recently, a bit out the way on my rides west of Fang, and you'd have I thought I was the devil incarnate. I rode off before they shot me. Funny what scares people. That Wiang Heng to Pai certainly saves a long trip doesn't it? Wish I could do that but maybe not on the CB300. I'll try to find that temple one day. Last report you had me looking for the burger place in C Dao, now I'll be checking the Jok shops at fang market.
 

Peter Digger

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Apr 22, 2021
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Ian - loved your great report & photos - the smaller Yamaha interests me, as although I am 'locked down' in Australia at the moment, this covid stuff must eventually calm down and hopefully things will get better. At age 69 a new bike beckons and there are some nice dirt bikes here in Oz for not a real lot of money at the moment. Convincing the wife I can still ride one at 69 is another matter. I must say I was shocked at just how much damage has been done to the local northern Thai economy by covid - I lived in C Mai for 25 years and never saw the outer areas so decimated. I lived in that village they would not let you in (Huay Sai Khaow) for over a year back in the late 90's. Happy memories. Again, thanks for an up-to-date look at the north. So green, unlike here.